Bloomberg’s statement calling for decriminalization as part of a broader criminal justice platform, essentially ignores the issue of federal legalization if the billionaire makes it into the White House.
Clearly Bloomberg’s advisors have pointed out the fact that two-thirds of the country supports marijuana legalization and up to 85% are behind medical marijuana. So it is no surprise that the former Republican would be pressed to deal with the issue.
The announcement to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis comes after years of enforcing a corrosive policy known as stop-and-frisk, which saw the arrest of thousands of people for that very reason.
Stop-and-frisk ruined lives
During Bloomberg’s administration as mayor of New York City (2002-2013), innocent people were subjected to police stops and interrogation more than 5 million times since 2002.
Stop-and-frisk disproportionately affected Black and Latino communities, putting many behind bars for minor marijuana possession charges, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in a 2019 report.
At the height of stop-and-frisk in 2011 over 685,000 people were stopped. Nearly nine out of 10 were completely innocent.
Bloomberg can’t hide from his racist past
The issue of Bloomberg’s controversial use of stop-and-frisk resurfaced and went viral after journalist Benjamin Dixon posted an audio clip of Bloomberg defending the policy during an address in 2015 at the Aspen Institute.
Bloomberg had video of speech blocked.
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 10, 2020
A longer version of Bloomberg’s Aspen speech revealed a profound disdain for cannabis and its legalization.
At the time, he was referring to Colorado when he said: “I think it’s a terrible, terrible idea…” He went on: “I can’t imagine why society is doing this.”
Short on details, long on opportunism
Bloomberg released his so-called criminal justice platform just one day before he will take part in his first Democratic presidential debate on Feb. 19, 2020.
Bloomberg’s plan calls for the decriminalization of “small amounts” of marijuana use and possession.
He also says he will commute sentences for people serving prison time for cannabis offenses. How kind of him, especially considering that many of them probably ended up behind bars because of stop-and-frisk.
“There’s the old saying that ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them.’ @MikeBloomberg has shown that he is no ally to marijuana reform or criminal justice reform more broadly.” – @NORML’s Erik Altieri in @rollcall https://t.co/VUyQvq8e30
— NORML (@NORML) February 18, 2020
No federal legalization
Bloomberg’s new position, notably, does not call for removing marijuana from its Schedule l status under the Controlled Substances Act, which has absurdly kept cannabis in the same classification as heroin for years.
Get your story straight
In a recent trip to Colorado, Bloomberg said, regarding cannabis legalization: “Colorado has a right to do what they want to do…”
But he advised other states to go slowly “because it’s not clear – doctors aren’t sure whether or not it’s doing damage.” Really?
Then he added: “But what I really object to is putting people in jail for marijuana.”
Again, really? Wasn’t that the ultimate course of stop-and-frisk?
Bloomberg needs to get his story straight.
Or better yet, apply for a different retirement job.